Maryland LP challenges law requiring 10,000 signatures despite having over 22,000 registered voters

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Below is a press release issued by the Maryland Libertarian Party on January 2, 2019:

The Maryland Libertarian Party filed a lawsuit in federal court on December 27, alleging that two aspects of the state’s ballot access laws are unconstitutional as applied.  The Libertarians are asking the court to extend their party recognition for another four years without requiring the Party to spend huge sums of money gathering information the State already has in its official records.

Maryland law requires smaller parties—all those other than the Democrats and Republicans—to renew their official status every four years either by attracting more than 1% of the gubernatorial or presidential vote or by filing a petition with the signatures of 10,000 registered voters.  In 2014 the Libertarians became the first smaller party in Maryland to reach the 1% goal, but in 2018 they fell short.  Now state law requires them to collect 10,000 signatures—even though the state’s own records already show that there are 22,338 registered Libertarians.

“The state’s interest in ensuring that there is a significant modicum of support within Maryland for the Libertarian Party is simply not advanced one iota by requiring Maryland’s 22,000 Libertarians to petition their non-Libertarian neighbors for permission to participate in the political process,” say the plaintiffs in their complaint.

In addition, the lawsuit also challenges the standards the State uses to validate and count petition signatures.  In past petition drives, the State has refused to count thousands of signatures even after positively identifying the registered voters who signed them, if the signatures do not exactly match the form of the voter’s name shown in the voter registration records. For example, the registration of the lead plaintiff in the case is listed as Robert S. Johnston lll. If Mr. Johnston were to sign a petition as Bob Johnston, Robert Johnston, Robert S. Johnston, or Robert Johnston lll, the signature would be invalidated even if the State treated the signature as valid for other purposes, such as updating Mr. Johnston’s address.  Even the signature Gov. Hogan affixes to legislation would be disqualified, because he signs “Larry Hogan” rather than “Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.”

Johnston and the Libertarian Party of Maryland are represented by Mark Grannis of Harris, Wiltshire and Grannis LLP, located in Washington, DC.

The case is Johnston v. Lamone (1:18cv-3988) (D. Md.).


More coverage on this lawsuit at Ballot Access News.

Lawsuit mentioned on Maryland Matters.

Holiday Party December 1

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lpmd_smallerThe annual Maryland LP Holiday Party will take place on Saturday, 1 December, from 7 – 11 pm at the Walden Woods Clubhouse, located at 9815 Wilderness Lane in Laurel, MD.

Please bring a food item or a covered dish. Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.

Click here for directions.

Contact Stu Simms if you have any questions at email hidden; JavaScript is required.



Jenica Martin to participate in US House 1st candidate forum with Colvin and Harris October 21

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Jenica Martin
Jenica Martin

Maryland Libertarian Party candidate first congressional district candidate Jenica Martin will be participating in a candidate forum at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton, MD on Sunday, October 21, from 2 pm to 3:30 pm.

Also attending the forum will be Republican incumbent Dr. Andy Harris and Democrat challenger Jesse Colvin.

The library is located at 100 Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601.

The forum is being sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Eastern Shore.

Click here for details.

LNC Meeting this Saturday and Sunday

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lp_logo_primary_hr_pmsThe Libertarian National Committee will be meeting in Phoenix, Arizona this Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30.

The meeting will begin on Saturday at 12 pm ET, and end on Sunday around 6 pm ET.

Click here to view the meeting on the Internet.

Click here for more details, including the agenda, staff, committee, and region reports.

Maryland LP US House candidate featured on Maryland Matters blog

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Behind-the-Scenes Player Takes Unconventional Path Into Politics

September 23, 2018

by Josh Kurtz

A year ago, David Lashar was a high-ranking bureaucrat at the Maryland Department of Health, a faceless if important cog in the Hogan administration who has also worked in the tech sector and on Capitol Hill.

But on this night, Lashar is the center of attention in an opulent Potomac living room, with a nationally known political maverick on hand to endorse his most audacious career move.

The living room belongs to Sam Malhotra, another former Hogan administration official and tech executive. And the celebrity political endorser is ex-Massachusetts Gov. William F. Weld, whose most recent foray into politics was as the 2016 Libertarian nominee for vice president.

Lashar is now the Libertarian candidate for Congress in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, running against six-term Rep. John P. Sarbanes (D) and Republican Charles Anthony, an Army veteran who has been all but invisible on the campaign trail.

Libertarian congressional candidate David Lashar speaks at a campaign event in Potomac last week. Photo by Josh Kurtz

“It’s a formidable task,” Lashar concedes during an interview in Malhotra’s kitchen the other night, before he addresses the 40 supporters who are mingling and munching nearby. “It’s a big peak to climb. But I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Lashar’s decision to run for Congress roughly traces his own disillusionment with the two-party system.

“I tried to become the candidate I was seeking but not finding,” he says.

After years as a Republican policy professional – most recently as the chief information officer and then chief of staff and chief operating officer at Hogan’s Health Department – Lashar watched in dismay as his preferred presidential candidate in 2016, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, was rejected by Republican voters and faced great hostility from certain party leaders.

“If that’s how the Republican Party feels about a candidate like that now, that’s how the Republican Party feels about me,” Lashar remembers thinking. “I think we need a multi-party system. That was my ‘aha!’ in 2017.”

Lashar switched parties in February and became a candidate a few months later, after leaving the Hogan administration. “The Libertarian Party has a set of principles that allows for a lot of interpretation on issues,” he says.

Lashar argues for a more socially tolerant and fiscally responsible government. His literature highlights four guiding principles: liberty, accountability, justice and prosperity.

“I wanted him as a candidate after talking to him for 30 seconds,” says Bob Johnston, the state party chairman.

Lashar also attracted the attention of Weld; they were introduced by syndicated columnist George F. Will, a mutual friend, and they bonded further when they discovered that Lashar had been a classmate of one of Weld’s nephews in the Russian Studies program at Dartmouth College.

“He’s a really good candidate,” Weld tells Maryland Matters. “The guy’s really serious-minded. He’s not shallow. And his attitude is perfect. As a Libertarian, you have to be” realistic.

Weld’s journey says a lot about the state of American politics – and it informs Lashar’s candidacy to a degree. He was elected governor as a moderate Republican in 1990 following an unsuccessful run for state attorney general, several years as U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, and a brief stint as a high-ranking official in the Reagan administration Justice Department.

Weld was reelected overwhelmingly in 1994; lost a bid for U.S. Senate against Democrat John Kerry in 1996 in a campaign that was widely praised for its high-mindedness; then resigned as governor in 1997 after he was nominated by President Clinton to become U.S. ambassador to Mexico. But his nomination was held up by right-wing U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), and he eventually withdrew.

Weld ran for governor of New York in 2006, but dropped out before the GOP primary after being outmaneuvered by party conservatives and failing to get the official designation of the state party. He re-emerged to run for vice president in 2016, with former New Mexico Republican Gov. Gary Johnson at the top of the Libertarian ticket.

These days, Weld, 74, is traveling around the country, speaking at state Libertarian conventions and boosting Libertarian candidates as a prelude to a possible presidential bid in 2020.

Like Lashar and other third-party and independent candidates – including Neal Simon, the businessman who is spending heavily on an independent U.S. Senate bid in Maryland – Weld sees a great hunger from voters for alternatives to the two-party system.

“The question is how genuine, how broad is the appetite for the third party?” he says.

Weld acknowledges that the Libertarian Party is not perfect, and often gets defined in the media by its fringe elements — or as he puts it, “the 36 people at the Libertarian convention who want to hold sex toys aloft.” But he says the fact that the party has hundreds of thousands of volunteers nationwide and ballot access in all 50 states makes it a potent force from which to build a movement.

A David Lashar campaign T-shirt. Photo by Josh Kurtz

“I’m in favor of the Democrats winning the House this year,” he adds. “It’s a crack in the monopoly.”  Later, Weld tells the crowd, “I think the odds of a third party winning in 2020 are better than the odds of Donald Trump winning.”

But challenges abound for candidates like Lashar. He’s raised about $30,000 for his campaign – Sarbanes had more than $1.2 million on hand as of June 30. It’s hard to go door-to-door in such a sprawled out district that takes in portions of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties.

In fact, Lashar says he’s having a hard time convincing the League of Women Voters and other civic groups to host candidate forums in part because the district is so spread out. Small wonder he’s selling T-shirts that say, “Slay the Gerrymander” at his campaign events.

But Lashar believes the Libertarian message, which he distills to “the sanctity and dignity of the individual,” can prevail.

“It’s an educated and persuadable district,” he says.

David Lashar’s campaign website:   Lashar2018.us

Maryland BBQ Bash Friday and Saturday

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bbq bashThe Maryland Libertarian Party will have a booth at the annual Maryland BBQ Bash, being held in downtown Bel Air, MD on Friday, August 10 and Saturday, August 11.

The event runs from 4 – 10 pm today, and noon until 10 pm on Saturday.

MDLP candidates attending the event include Jenica Martin (US House 1), Shawn Quinn (Governor), Chris Randers-Pehrson (State Senate 35), and Tom Ashwell (Harford County Circuit Court Judge).

The booth is #18, and is located on Hayes St.

Click here for details. You can also contact Bob Johnston at (443) 310-5373, or email hidden; JavaScript is required.


Live Free Cornhole Tournament July 15

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Live Free Cornhole Tournament

Sunday, July 15 @ 6:00 pm9:00 pm

The Live Free Cornhole Tournament is a family friendly event held at Fairwinds Farm & Stables in North East, MD (Cecil County, i-95 exit 100.) Join us for good food, good beer, good music, and unpredictable dancing!

FREE to attend.
$10 to compete.
Food, drinks, and beer will be available for sale. Other activities include visiting with the horses and farm animals and horse drawn carriage rides. Hosted by the Upper Eastern Shore Libertarians, a subcommittee of the Libertarian Party of Maryland. Minimum Government. Maximum Freedom.

Location:   41 Tailwinds Lane,  North East, MD 21901

Directions:     https://www.bing.com/search?q=fairwinds+farm+and+stables&form=EDGEAR&qs=AS&cvid=f29ebfdc0e9d449aad5efc5bc5834298&cc=US&setlang=en-US&elv=AY3%21uAY7tbNNZGZ2yiGNjfONTPNNJupy5PZACqBLidDrHJ72QkzYi4PhcYB1Q4jRutKDSpDq2OLzgPOGbgEmw8O8dBIr3eX23gfyqb7l8S%21s&PC=HCTS

Click here to compete.

More information:     https://www.facebook.com/events/351037218728116/

Paid for by the Libertarian Party of Maryland (LpMaryland.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. By authority of Michael Linder, Treasurer.